It’s never been a better time to rent in Atlanta, so rent (if you can afford it)
Gladys Manzur, a 26-year-old software consultant, set out one day in June 2016 with a list of Midtown apartment towers, but she didn’t get far. First stop was a glassy sky-rise called Sixty11th. Since relocating to Atlanta after college, Manzur had bounced from Old Fourth Ward to Summerhill to Buckhead. But six floors above Midtown, she stepped onto the balcony and saw a saline pool with pergolas and a waterfall and an onsite dog park—basically a resort. I might have to stretch my budget, she thought. But I can’t settle for anything else. She took a one-bedroom, 889-square-foot apartment for $2,138 monthly.
Manzur’s enthusiasm echoes that of other millennials whose preference for renting over buying (alongside a booming job market and general population surge) has helped create historically high rents in metro Atlanta. That’s despite an explosion in apartment construction that was projected to pack on almost 12,000 new units last year alone.
Consider that, in 2007, the average metro rent was $840. After increases of three to seven percent every quarter since post-Recession 2011 (most severe in Buckhead and Midtown), average Atlanta rents have reached an all-time high of $1,157. But Will Mathews, senior vice president of real estate brokerage Colliers International, points out that’s still $113 below the national average. And a deluge of “class A luxury product” has started to quench demand and slow rent increases, he says.
“Atlanta still has very affordable rent compared to other major cities,” says Tracy Minich, a Re/Max realtor who’s specialized in rentals for 30 years. “The majority of people feel like we’re very reasonable, unless they’re coming from areas like Mississippi or Tennessee.”
With the demand has come options. Really swanky options. New, BeltLine-adjacent AMLI Ponce Park offers a built-in bicycle repair shop and standard one-bedrooms from about $1,500. In Midtown, YOO on the Park offers amenities like Italian cabinetry and an outdoor gym. There, choice two-bedrooms require more than $6,500 monthly, but wee 540-square-foot studios are available from $1,625. In Buckhead, Cyan on Peachtree starts at $1,109 for 580 square feet. Sub–400-square-foot units are available at Gables Emory Pointe and 131 Ponce in Midtown.
But living the rental high-life isn’t exclusively a millennial thing. Buckhead grandparents Michal and Jack Hillman signed a three-month lease at Inman Quarter last summer (one-bedroom for $1,900) and reveled in the walkability. “We just had a good time going out and seeing what’s there,” Michal says.
This article originally appeared in our February 2018 issue.